Thomas Wilson

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On Observation of Thought

The mind is present with an apparently consistent and unceasing flow of thought. I have wondered why there is almost always something on my mind unless I am thoroughly engaged with my surroundings. Otherwise, the wandering mind is rife with ideas and perceptions and judgements, many of which simply float off into oblivion.

Of course there is the obsessive aspects, and the bothersome, and the dark. The minds river flows far, deep and wide. Often times we hitch a ride on a raft and it takes us through waters that we cannot control, being drug through rapids which threaten to throw us over the edge. Curiously, we make it almost every time provided we hold on.

How does one take a backseat to the commotion? One does so as it sees an animal finishing its sip from the flowing river of thought.

One must watch the animal to understand it. The animal is a habitual creature, it follows its own habits that have been established. It finishes its sip from the river of thought, of which it carelessly drinks.

Watch it lust for food or follow its assembled plan, observe it notice its surroundings but do not interfere, it recoils to any disturbance. This is the beginning, and as any good hunter knows, the prey must be observed and its behavior learnt. The animal is always by the river.

Stalk the animal, see what it sees, notice what it notices. Neglect what it feels, the hunter cannot possibly know precisely what the animal feels until it inflicts the feeling itself. Wherever the animal goes, the hunter necessarily follows, but it is whether or not the hunter is paying attention to the animal that matters.

The animal will by some miracle usually end up in a bed by the end of the day. The hunter too must then sleep.

Through observation, the hunter grows to understand how the animal thinks. Their minds slowly meet and the animal’s mind is seen for what it is, a creature of habit and a collection of primal drives. The hunter is no longer a hunter, he becomes the tamer. Hunters kill, tamers respect. But the hunter is a necessary founder, unwittingly it destroys its own lust for control.

The tamer wishes not for control, but to understand and tame. The tamer sees clearly the animals desires, but just begins to see the attachments of its mind. The animal drinks from the river yet, and it eats berries that sprout by its banks.

Nudge the animal, it is close enough to touch; certain berries seem like they might kill it, this animal should not go near them. But other berries look rife with benefit, the animal should seek those out; the tamer never ceases its attention, however, as the animal is still an animal. Yet for the first time, the tamer tastes berries.

These berries, how numerous, how colorful. Some are sour, some are sweet, all are perishable. Some appear during only certain times of the year, others completely disappear. Some only grow when I am close, others seem to emerge apropos. All are tied to this river that never ceases its flow. Always I must drink, but overindulgence in its berries leaves me blind. Forever these berries blossom, always new ones to see, some never die, others cannot help but flee. There is one thing I must choose wisely, whether to eat at all.

Time passes, the animal has new habits and knows which berries are best and promptly neglects berries that it once saw as fruitful.

There lies a hunter in the distance. Do you see that animal, hunter?

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